2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Page 2

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That handling comes with all-wheel drive standard, and the Evoque's all-weather traction is a strong point. Its Terrain Response system lets drivers select from four different modes, for snow and slush to on-road. In any of them, the Evoque remaps its steering, throttle, transmission, and traction control for optimum balance. It still has more than eight inches of ground clearance, and can ford through a stream nearly two feet high, but the Evoque's road manners will remind you of a compact sedan more than anything else wearing the green-oval badge.

Fuel economy is a benefit of the downsized Evoque. Since it's smaller and lighter all around, Land Rover can install a smaller engine--in this case a derivative of Ford's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Hooked up with a six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic, the 240-horsepower four has great thrust that comes with plenty of noise, some good, some needing work. The net effect puts EPA-estimated gas mileage at 19/28 mpg, a vast improvement over any other Land Rover product, and about equal to that on the new turbo-four Ford Explorer.

The era of truly coupe-like SUVs dawns, finally, and the 2012 Range Rover Evoque nails it with turbo thrust and carlike handling.

It's the sexiest SUV in history, period. The Evoque is rolling drama, and if you're captivated by its stiletto styling in a world of clumsy earth shoes, it's easy to overlook the slightly smaller passenger space, the excess of drivetrain noise, and the lofty sticker price. You'll be the only one on the block wearing it this season--and maybe your friends and family won't be sending any more of those pesky postcards to What Not To Wear anymore.

For more on its utility and comfort, safety, features, styling and performance, see TheCarConnection's full review of the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

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